Holidays in Belgium: what do I have to know
Belgium is a harmonious fusion of old world charm and modern culture and trends. Offering castles, manor houses, museums and churches boasting modern architecture, as well as shopping arcades and numerous attractions, this jewel of Europe is home to a number of spectacular locations for all types of holidaymakers.
The relatively small size of the country means that it is not only a great place to visit, but also a great place to spend time. At VeryChic we have a comprehensive list of cities that you absolutely must visit in this enviable country. If you have time, you can visit them all. On the other hand, if you are only spending a weekend in Belgium, it is advisable to choose the cities according to your affinities and your day-to-day itinerary. Promising to add an outpouring of fun and excitement to your holiday in Belgium, these cities are must-sees.
When to go on holidays to Belgium ?
There are few places in the world that can give you the kind of peace and quiet you will feel on a travel to Belgium. The country’s historic cities, splendid architecture, wonderful chocolate and beer make it one of the best places to travel in the whole world. It is a country with an extremely rich culture and heritage. If you want to explore Europe in its most romantic form, don't hesitate to spend your next holidays in Belgium.
In this guide, VeryChic will help you find the best time to go to Belgium, depending on what you want.
Belgium is a country to visit when you want to enjoy the beauty of Europe in a peaceful and luxurious way. You can admire the stunning beauty of the city of Ghent and stop for a steaming hot cup of Belgian hot chocolate. You can also go hiking in the Ardennes. The beauty of Belgium is best enjoyed slowly over time. That's why it's a country you'll always come back to, no matter how many times you visit. On the other hand, to get the most out of a particular activity, you will need to consider the weather.
The climate in Belgium is very different from that in the rest of Europe.
Belgium's climate is rather moderate, although it has the same average temperatures as the rest of Europe. Most of the major cities, such as Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp, are great destinations all year round, but each season has something special to offer. So when is the best time to go to Belgium? Read on before you make your decision.
Spring: April - June
A travel to Belgium in spring is definitely worth it. If you want to enjoy the most pleasant weather in the whole country, this is the ideal time. From Wallonia to Flanders, the whole country enjoys sunshine all day long. During these months there will not be many tourists, except at weekends when many Europeans travel to Ghent and Bruges. Prices for accommodation and air or train tickets will be more affordable than in the summer.
Spring is an ideal time to visit Belgium, as most of the countryside is full of flowers, especially Bruges and Ghent. It is also a good time to visit Wallonia, especially Ardennes, which will start to open after closing during the winter.
Many festivals also take place in the spring, including the Brussels Film Festival in June or the Jazz Marathon in May.
Summer: July - August
During the summer it is hot in Belgium, but the heat is not unbearable. However, there could be intermittent rainfall across the country. Summer is the high tourist season due to the major holidays scheduled during this season in Europe, America and the UK. So, expect to see a lot of people, especially in the big cities and coastal areas.
VeryChic tip: if you want to get cheaper airfare and accommodation rates for your holiday in Belgium, make sure you book your tickets well in advance. It should be noted that during the summer it will be much cooler in Flanders than in the north of the country.
There will be countless outdoor festivals during this period, including the Ghent Festival in July, the Brussels Summer Festival in August and several other outdoor music and art festivals in Bruges, Hasselt, Ath and Antwerp. July is also the time when the famous music festival Tomorrowland takes place.
The autumn: September - October
The months of September and October are also perfect for a travel to Belgium. The summer heat starts to fade and the cold winter weather starts to set in. This season can be quite wet, especially as the coastal winds start to blow. There will be a drop in the number of tourists throughout Belgium. So you can expect price reductions in hotels in Belgium and promotions on flight tickets.
This is the best time to visit Belgium if you want to explore the hilly areas of the Ardennes. The roads will be lined with autumn foliage, and the weather will be really pleasant, so it would be an ideal time for a long trek. There won't be many outdoor festivals, but you should definitely attend the Gent Film Festival if you get the chance!!
Winter: November - March
Winters in Belgium can be rather wet and cold. The canals and ponds in Belgium also freeze during the winter, which is perfect for ice skating. On the other hand, there will be showers towards the coastal areas. It will be quite cold, but Belgium is not the country with the lowest winter temperatures in Europe. So you can still enjoy a number of outdoor activities or opt for a hotel with a spa in Belgium.
If you decide to take a travel to Belgium during the winter, you may want to explore the bigger cities, as the smaller ones will become rather dull and drab. There is usually enough snow in the Ardennes for cross-country and downhill skiing, but it really depends on the weather.
What to visit in Belgium ?
While most tourists only go to Belgium to see the Grand-Place of Brussels, the country begs for a longer stay. The country is divided between Flanders, the Flemish (Dutch) half, and Wallonia, the French-speaking half. Brussels, the capital, lies roughly between the two. You want to spend a holiday in Belgium, but you are wondering what to do in Belgium ? And where to go first? Here are a few ideas for your day.
Brussels, the European capital of nightlife and shopping
Belgium's capital with a high concentration of the country's great museums, palaces, chapels and special houses, Brussels is one of the most popular places in the country. It is also the administrative capital of the European Union. It attracts tourists from all over the world. Famous for its cafes, pubs, restaurants and luxury shopping arcades, Brussels offers a multitude of options to make your holiday in Belgium exciting. You will find many unusual things to do and places to see in Brussels. It is also Brussels where you will find the best waffles in Belgium!
Bruges, the Venice of the North
This picturesque city of historic buildings and canals is one of the most spectacular historical sites in Belgium. Bruges' magnificent palaces, chapels and mansions reflect the history of the Vikings, while the network of canals that criss-cross the city has earned Bruges the title of Venice of the North.
Explore this picturesque city, enjoy a ride on a pleasure boat through the canals or indulge in some real Belgian hot chocolate in one of the many cafés in the main market square. If time permits, you can also visit the iconic poppy and moth fields of the Menin Gate.
Antwerp, the Belgian capital of modern art and gastronomy
A true Belgian symbol, Antwerp is all about culture, art and tradition. On the one hand, it has architectural marvels and particularly magnificent palaces. On the other hand, there are art galleries and contemporary museums, such as the Grote Markt and the MoMu Fashion Museum. Known for its gastronomy, Antwerp is also home to some of the best Belgian breweries. The city is also considered the diamond capital of the world, accounting for almost 70% of all diamond transactions worldwide.
Don't miss the Chocolate Line as you tour the city, admiring the golden ceilings and sampling the original chocolate flavours. Indeed, you can taste chocolate with bacon, fried onions, Havana leaves or even wasabi, before heading to your hotel in Antwerp, Belgium.
Dinant, a Belgian city on the banks of the Meuse
Located on the banks of the Meuse River in the province of Namur, Dinant is another tourist attraction and one of the most beautiful cities to visit on a travel in Belgium. Located 65 kilometres from Brussels, it is a must-see city on your holiday. Nestled on the steep valley between the rocks and the river, this charming little town is perfect for a day trip. It is also home to the Han Caves and the Dinant Cave, among the largest in Europe, as well as the best parks in Belgium.
The city's landmark is the collegiate church of Notre Dame with its onion-shaped dome. While on the hill behind it, a fortified citadel overlooks the city.
When you are in Dinant, don't forget to try the Flamiche, a local version of the quiche lorraine, or the couque de Dinant, which is the hardest biscuit in Europe.
Ostend, the largest city on the Belgian coast
Ostend has gained popularity because of the strategic location of its port. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations for enjoying the beaches of Belgium. Indeed, the beautiful fine sand of the coastline and the open-air museum of the Atlantic Wall are among the city's best attractions.
The best way to get to know the city well is to stroll the narrow streets around Het Visschersplein while learning about local products at the local markets. Don't forget to visit the Gothic church of St Peter and Paul to admire its magnificent architecture or to visit the Forêt de Soignes, after which you can treat yourself to a night at the La Hulpe Belgium for a relaxing day at its Cinq Mondes Spa in the heart of the green lung of Brussels.